Blizzard have had a darn good year for StarCraft II esports in 2015, and they’re pretty happy with the results. But everyone knows you don’t stand still when the going’s good, so the developer are implementing a bunch of changes in 2016 to make the World Championship Series even bigger and better.
Catch up on the latest changes to StarCraft II with our Legacy of the Void review.
The most notable change is the prize pool: that giant jug of money everyone’s fighting each other for. In 2016 it’ll be over $2 million deep, significantly up from 2015’s $1.6 million. The winners from the WCS Global Finals will be grabbing a cool $500,000.
The tournament will be split into two standings in 2016: WCS Korea Standings, and WCS Circuit Standings. As the name suggests, the Korea Standings will be for the best-of-the-best players capable of playing at those ‘Korean’ levels of StarCraft play. Anyone is welcome to play, provided they can take the heat, and the GSL and SSL tournaments will take place in Korea. The Circuit Standings are a progression from 2015’s Premier League, and will take place at a variety of global tournaments. The aim of Circuit Standings is to expose and develop upcoming talents from outside Korea.
The WCS Global Playoffs at the end of 2016 will see eight players from each standing battle each other for supremacy, showcasing the best players from all regions of the world. The top eight players here will move to the WCS Global Finals.
All tournaments will have extra support thanks to Blizzard not producing studio broadcasts in 2015. Instead the energy and funds used on the broadcasts will be used to improve live events, and help support players through increased prize funds and covering some travel costs.
‘Direct Spots’ for the WCS Global Finals will be on offer for exceptional players by competing in the most ‘prestigious’ events during the year. The winners of these tournaments will be awarded a direct path to the Global Finals. Seven spots are on offer, with four for the WCS Korea System (GSL and SSL seasons 1 and 2) and three from the Circuit system (Winter, Spring, and Summer Championships). The remaining spots will be taken up by top point scorers in the standings.
The GSL and SSL will see a Cross-Finals event, where the winning players from both tournaments will face each other to reveal the top player in the WCS Korea system.
Additionally, the WCS systems will be joined by Regional Cups so players all across the world will have opportunities to compete through the year.
Full details on the 2016 changes can be found at the StarCraft II World Championship Series website.